Republicans of the House Judiciary Committee drafted a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Thursday, asking them to appoint a second special counsel to investigate the 2016 elections.
Unlike the current special counsel assigned to investigate matters surrounding the election, Robert Mueller, the letter calls for an investigation into the “actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
The letter comes on the heels of a Thursday announcement that the committee has approved an investigation of its own into these figures. That investigation is slated to include a probe into ex-Director Comey’s leaking of his conversations with President Donald Trump through friend and law professor Daniel Richmond and alleged improprieties in former Attorney General Lynch’s handling of the investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server. It was Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, one of the letter’s addressees, who made the initial appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian interference after Sessions recused himself from oversight of the probe.
The Republicans who voted to initiate that investigation, including Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), elaborated on their reasoning in the letter requesting an additional special counsel, writing to Sessions and Rosenstein:
Many Democrats and members of the Washington media previously called for a “special prosecutor” to investigate Russian influence on the election and connections with the Trump campaign. Not surprisingly, once you actually made the decision to appoint a special counsel, the calls for further investigations by congressional committees continued, focused on allegations that have heretofore produced no evidence of criminality, despite the fact that over a year has passed since the opening of the original FBI investigation.
Going on to explain the inherently political nature of the extreme focus of existing special counsel congressional investigations on the “Russia” narrative, the letter continues, “[A] comprehensive investigation into the 2016 Presidential campaign and its aftermath must…be free of even the suggestion of political interference…a second newly-appointed special counsel will not be encumbered by these considerations.”
The letter lists 14 specific inquiries the congressmen would like this potential second special counsel to look into:
- Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch directing Mr. Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the Clinton investigation;
- The shadow cast over our system of justice concerning Secretary Clinton and her involvement in mishandling classified information;
- FBI and DOJ’s investigative decisions related to former Secretary Clinton’s email investigation, including the propriety and consequence of immunity deals given to potential Clinton co-conspirators Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, John Bentel and possibly others;
- The apparent failure of DOJ to empanel a grand jury to investigate allegations of mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and her associates;
- The Department of State and its employees’ involvement in determining which communications of Secretary Clinton’s and her associates to turn over for public scrutiny;
- WikiLeaks disclosures concerning the Clinton Foundation and its potentially unlawful international dealings;
- Connections between the Clinton campaign, or the Clinton Foundation, and foreign entities, including those from Russia and Ukraine;
- Mr. Comey’s knowledge of the purchase of Uranium One by the company Rosatom, whether the approval of the sale was connected to any donations made to the Clinton Foundation, and what role Secretary Clinton played in the approval of that sale that had national security ramifications;
- Disclosures arising from unlawful access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computer systems, including inappropriate collusion between the DNC and the Clinton campaign to undermine Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign;
- Post-election accusations by the President that he was wiretapped by the previous Administration, and whether Mr. Comey and Ms. Lynch had any knowledge of efforts made by any federal agency to unlawfully monitor communications of then-candidate Trump or his associates;
- Selected leaks of classified information related to the unmasking of U.S. person identities incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community, including an assessment of whether anyone in the Obama Administration, including Mr. Comey, Ms. Lynch, Ms. Susan Rice, Ms. Samantha Power, or others, had any knowledge about the “unmasking” of individuals on then candidate-Trump’s campaign team, transition team, or both;
- Admitted leaks by Mr. Comey to Columbia University law professor, Daniel Richman, regarding conversations between Mr. Comey and President Trump, how the leaked information was purposefully released to lead to the appointment of a special counsel, and whether any classified information was included in the now infamous “Comey memos”;
- Mr. Comey’s and the FBI’s apparent reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, including the company’s creation of a “dossier” of information about Mr. Trump, that dossier’s commission and dissemination in the months before and after the 2016 election, whether the FBI paid anyone connected to the dossier, and the intelligence sources of Fusion GPS or any person or company working for Fusion GPS and its affiliates; and
- Any and all potential leaks originated by Mr. Comey and provide to author Michael Schmidt dating back to 1993.
The letter is signed by all 20 Republican members of the committee.